Sunday, September 25, 2005

Why Fatherhood Turns You Into a Wimp

What a great article! It's definitely worth reading. (The comments are good, too.)

Why Fatherhood Turns You Into a Wimp
by Trey Ellis

I’ve rock climbed and kayaked and surfed and hang glided. I’ve hitchhiked across the continent of Africa and gotten lost overnight on the side of a Guatemalan volcano. I’ve been motherless since I was sixteen and fatherless since I was twenty-two so I pride myself on my stoic resilience.

Yet now that I’m taking care of two small children I cry more easily than a seven-year-old little girl.

When I was married and they were babies I was the muscle, the typical male who carried the car seat, assembled the pack-n-play, carried them back to the car when they said they were too big for a stroller but still too little to long distance self propel. When my daughter was three and a half and my son just a half my then wife moved out. She still saw them most every afternoon and still does, however suddenly I was the one more often giving them a bath , shampooing, conditioning and braiding my daughter’s enchanted forest of hair and putting them to bed. I was the one in the mornings making them Cream of Wheat (I add raisins that when cooked get deliciously mushy) and then driving my daughter to preschool. When I look back at these past four years I have no idea how I got through it but it’s vastly easier now that she’s older and my son’s in preschool. I’ve gained so much, grown stronger than I ever thought I could -- but also much, much more soft. It hit me the other day when I was reading to my daughter and one of her best friends before school started. My daughter picked out a book called The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting and I started reading. In the book, a seven-year-old and her grandmother are excited about the surprise they have planned for her father. Meanwhile they read and read and read, an hour each day. I thought an hour straight is a long time, we read before school starts for just fifteen minutes. I turned the pages but still no sign of the dad’s surprise. Finally the dad’s birthday arrives. He’s a long-haul trucker and he’s dead tired but happy. Hmm. A working-class dad in a kids’ book, I think to myself. Very cool. The grandma and the little girl tell the dad to sit down and get ready for his surprise. He does and the grandma picks out one of the children’s books and starts reading it. The mother and the father gasp and suddenly I can’t breathe either. I’m about to sob -- great, loud, heaving weeps and gasps -- in front of all the kids and all the other parents reading to their kids this morning because it was the little girl who was teaching her poor illiterate grandma to read. My daughter and her friend were absolutely unphased. I held my eyes open wide to try to catch the tears then gave up and rubbed the water into my cheeks like lotion. I realized right then that before I had kids I just didn’t care about other people as deeply as I care about them now. Now, thanks to my kids, I’m as tender as a three-inch, dry-aged filet. And I used to be kinda cool. I’d go to clubs. I’d dress in black. That’s all gone now. I swear to you that years from now, if my kids ever give me the chance, I’m going to be that insanely embarrassing old grandpa you see in the supermarket parking lot wearing a sweatshirt silkscreened with the faces of all his grandkids.

You think the Moonies are the world experts at brainwashing? They’ve got nothing over fatherhood.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Check this out. I've recently discovered, because visitors to my 'bunny' blog have come from there.

It's a cool online tool.Here's what the guy who designed the program says about it,

" Every sixty seconds BlogsNow generates a new list of topics. Reflecting what weblogs are talking about right now. BlogsNow will show you trends and breaking news faster than any other tool. Please credit BlogsNow if you blog about links you found here.Click here for news about BlogsNow in my weblog.Andreas
· "
To read the complete post, visit this entry over at Julien's List.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Family of Artists Picks Up the Pieces

This was an interesting interview. A family of artists lost everything in the hurricane. You can listen to it at (Click the link for the title to get to the page with the recorded interview.)

All Things Considered, September 18, 2005
by Debbie Elliott

Tracy Wahl, NPR

Pottery left mostly intact by Katrina offers temporary decoration for a storm-battered wall at Shearwater.

Since the 1920s, a family of artists have made their home at Shearwater, a complex overlooking Mississippi's Biloxi Bay. Perhaps most famous is the late Walter Inglis Anderson, known for vibrant watercolors of Gulf Coast landscapes. His two brothers were potters, and a fourth generation of the family carries on the Shearwater pottery tradition.

Hurricane Katrina swept through Shearwater, taking out nine family homes and six other buildings, and severely damaging a pottery workshop that had been in operation since 1928.

Mary Anderson Pickard, one of Walter Anderson's four children, was among those who lost a Shearwater home. Since then, she and her family members have dug though broken shards of decorative pottery, hoping to salvage what they can.

Some of Walter Anderson's work is housed at a museum in Ocean Springs, Miss., that survived the storm. But the family's treasured private collection... full of writings, paintings and linoleum blocks... was kept at Shearwater in a special vault. And it didn't fare as well.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Laughter Is Contagious

If you enjoy a play by play story, where the storyteller is laughing all the way through, check this out.

This is a phone message from a Dallas, TX morning radio show. The caller started out telling his friend he was on his way to meet him. Then, he witnessed a fender-bender.

Since it happened right in front of him, he watched the whole scene unfold.

- Guy clips a car full of 'little old ladies'.
- Guy gets out and approaches the car he just hit.
- Guy's body language says it was the other driver's fault.

- Little old ladies attack.

The guy telling the story laughs harder and harder as the story progresses. It's hard not to at least smile while listening to it.

I've listened to it several times now.

Introducing Myself to Ms. Julien's List

As the newest contributor to Julien's List, I was asked to introduce myself. This is what I wrote:

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New Kid On the Block

I'm the new kid on this block. I feel like I'm the scrawny kid, or the little kid, among the heavyweights. No, I'm not talking about physical attributes! But, I'm delighted to be here.

I'm in the middle of a long stretch in school, working towards a career change. I realized a couple of years ago that it was time to think about going to nursing school. Since then, I've been taking prerequisites and corequisites. Now, I'm in my fourth week of a two-year program. Maybe saying that to more and more people will help me keep my eyes on the goal.

Ms. J has been asking when I'd be writing my introductory post. I asked if I could copy a recent post from my bunny blog, and she gave the okay.

Here's my post from yesterday on my blog:
(On Julien's List, I quoted my entry from yesterday. Here, just look below for my entry from yesterday.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The End of Politics As We Know It

The End of Politics As We Know It?

Okay, not really.

But I am moving my comments, links and quotes over to
Julien's List.

Well ... not moving existing comments, links and quotes ... but, future comments, links and quotes that are political in nature will appear where they belong, with other political commentary.

Henceforth (I just like the word, it invokes an image of a man in purple tights reading from a scroll held at arms length ... a good fairytale image), this blog shall be as it was originally intended.. a

Well ... except for comments about medical things and whatever else comes to mind! ;)

But, for sure, my plan is to take my political views elsewhere.

This little Bunny Blog should be for
things that smell good and feel wonderful, not for politics (which doesn't smell good no matter what you believe).

I actually prefer to view the things that concern me politically as being about justice and morality. But, I know there are others, who believe differently than I, who believe they are the ones talking about what is right.

Fortunately, we citizens of these United States are all (most of us anyway) allowed to speak our minds without being arrested for it (most of the time anyway). There are exceptions to this, but to a large degree, it still exists.

I would like to see the day when we all can live with justice and mercy, compassion and acceptance, celebrating the diversity of the citizens of this great country and embracing and valuing our differences, knowing that in our understanding and acceptance of our differences we will find some of our greatest strengths.

When we, both individually and as a nation, learn to love and respect all of our people, then we will be caring for ourselves individually, and as a nation, in the greatest possible way.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Well ... Wow! ... I've Been Invited to Contribute to Julien's List

I read Julien's List almost every day. I've quoted from it a few times recently. I mentioned to Ms. Julien (via email) that I've become a little uncomfortable with posting so many political things on my personal 'bunny blog', since I originally intended for it to be totally about the wonderful bath and body products I sell. She agreed. Then, she shocked me by inviting me to be a guest contributor on her web log. Wow!

Ms. Julien is an impressive woman. She's educated, articulate, successful, and brave. Those are a few of her attributes. She speaks out for the rights of those who are under fire by many of the decision-makers in our government and by those who hold a kind of power over their followers by claiming that their personal views come directly from God.

This is from one of her recent posts, a copy of her letter to the Governor of California.

Hello Governor,

I am writing to respectfully ask that when you consider whether or not to approve the bill for same-sex unions, you please keep in mind that the human lives you will hurt, perhaps forever, by siding with people who hate others simply because they love differently...Simply because they love differently...but they DO love, Governor. They have a need to be protected in
their love, and in their families.

My other half is a physician, and is being courted by a major CA medical center to provide a unique combination of trauma, critical care, and vascular surgery. She is being courted by several other hospitals in the nation. One of our major decision-making factors will be the outcome of this decision. I know in the scheme of things this is not a proverbial "big deal" but to see California being the first state in the nation to have a same-sex marriage law passed by the legislature, and then to have it not allowed, paving the way for further discrimination on behalf of hate groups, would just not make the state an enticing place to live.

Loving differently should not preclude being allowed to love fully.

Thank you.

I feel honored to have been invited to participate in Julien's List.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Is It Just Me, or Does It Bother Other People, Too ...

Why is it that as soon as the photojournalists were banned from New Orleans, and not allowed to photograph the bodies or the retrieval of the bodies, there are suddenly LOTS of articles saying there are fewer bodies than expected? (Does "fewer bodies" = "not really as bad as people thought, so what are you complaining about?")

I hope the "fewer bodies" word coming out of the city is true. I hope more people escaped than has been feared.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Today, I'm posting Only Good News and Heartwarming Stories

This letter is published with the permission of the author. She asked only that I include her disclaimer that she is "not a Red Cross spokesperson nor an authority ... I simply wanted to share my experiences." And, she said, "I just wanted everyone to know that these peoples only fault was that they were poor. So many had tragic, horrific stories to tell, but nearly all could still smile and were positive in there outlook. I fell in love with each and everyone as soon as I met them."

Here is her account of her experience with some of those who came to Oklahoma after the storm:

Subject: Camp Gruber Report from Tulsa Peace Fellowship member

Hello Friends and Family:

Just wanted to share a bit about Camp Gruber. Dennis and I, as Red Cross Disaster Action Team Volunteers, worked there from 1:00 p.m. Saturday through 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Those sixteen hours were an eye opener.

Thirty-nine buses of evacuees started arriving around 10:00 p.m., about 2,000 people of every age and walk of life. First they were triaged by doctors and nurses, with some going to area hospitals. I heard that their were a few deaths before the buses reached us, but I haven't confirmed that.

The ones that needed minor treatment or could wait until the next day were registered and assigned to a dorm, a former army barracks. Dennis headed up a men's dorm where he eventually helped about 240 men find a place to stay. I headed the women with special needs dorm, elderly women, women with mobility problems, and other health issues.

Our mission was to reassure them, get them fed, showered, in clean clothes, and in bed. What our actual major mission turned out to be was to listen, cry, and hug.

In my own experience, I and my helpers welcomed each woman to our dorm, helped her shower, got her some clean clothes and a plate of hot lasagna, and let her pick out which bed she wanted.

As we brought each woman into the room they were just amazed that these metal army beds with clean white sheets were for their use. They had a difficult time realizing that we asked nothing of them but to let us get them some fresh clothing and something to eat. Most would not sit down on the bed until they had a shower, and several were reluctant to exit that warm shower.

You see, some of these people had been on that bus for several days, and none had bathed since last Monday or Tuesday. They had waded and swam through that contaminated water up to their necks, cut holes in roofs to escape their homes (60 and 70 year old women), slept out of doors on top of bridges, inside and outside of the Super Dome, and had generally survived in conditions that we can't even imagine, and seen things that I don't care to repeat.

They wanted to talk. We listened. And listened. And cried. They stories they told were horrendous, and I will never forget their words and faces. I sit crying as I type these words. But almost to the last one, they had tales of courage, and hope, of people helping each other, or of funny things they encountered.

These strangers to each other chose beds next to new friends and shared what they had left of their lives. The fortunate ones had a garbage bag with a few pieces of soiled clothing. Some had only the small toiletry bag issued to them when they arrived.

Each thing was so precious to them and they expressed so much gratitude for what we, as Oklahoman's were doing. They were so thankful to be in a safe, secure place, until they can figure out what to do now. They were concerned for us and telling us that we looked tired and needed to rest.

Some of these people will only be there a few days, just needing to be in one location long enough to notify friends and relatives were they are so that they can be taken in. Others might take longer.

Most not only lost all of their possessions, and sometimes family, they no longer have jobs to go to since the city will not be functioning in the foreseeable future. They must find work to be able to support their families again.

These buses had been turned away from several locations on their way to us. The Tulsa Red Cross had a little over a day to mobilize and find a place for these displaced people.

A couple of ladies told me that they didn't like Texas (actually that is an understatement) and that the people were mean to them and wouldn't let them stay. And then one lady told of a man outside of Dallas that saw the buses and bought a breakfast for each and every one of them.

They could not stop talking. It was 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning before the last one finally went to bed. You didn't need to say much, just listen, pat a shoulder, hold a hand, or give a hug.

One woman was kind of quiet and I went over to sit on her bed, during a not-so-busy moment, and tried to get her to talk to me. She started telling me that she hadn't spoken with her 8 year old grandson since Monday. She said that he knew her cell phone number and that all of the family had been coordinating with a sister in another state, but that no one had heard from this little boy, and then she broke down in tears.

As we stood there with arms around each other crying, I tried to give her what reassurances that I could, telling her that one of the things the Red Cross does best is reuniting family members. I only hope I have told her the truth.

I watched people, old, young, families, and a few pets, standing in line for clean, new, and used clothing for hours, finally coming away with new flip-flops, a t-shirt or two and some shorts or pants. As I walked by this block long line while picking up some things for my women, I tried to take a moment to smile and say a few kinds words to many. This was their first impression of our state and they kept commenting on how nice and friendly we were. I told them that they were now honorary Oklahomans so they had better get used to it.

Dennis's experiences were similar to mine but with many more people, and some angry over all that they had endured. I think that he handled things in an expert way, diffusing volatile situations with kind words that they hadn't heard from anyone in many days.

He said that when he spoke softly and kindly to them he could see the anger and despair drain from their faces. He listened to many of their tragic stories and empathized as much as he could.

We bought some baseballs on the way to Braggs and when he would see someone starting to get upset he would throw them a baseball or football to them and their faces would light up that someone was giving them something to do and entrusting them with a possession for that dorm to share.

I know that I've written a lot, so I will try to get to my point. Maybe I just needed to tell you some of these things.

What the Red Cross DOES NOT need: Clothing and food Don't clean out your closet and donate your baby blue polyester Leisure Suit. No one wants it.

What the Red Cross DOES need:

Money and volunteers The volunteers are generally working 12 hour shifts, but they will take you for whatever time that you have to spare and put you to productive work.

MAKE A DONATION: You can call the Tulsa Area Chapter at 831-1100 to volunteer or donate money or go online to Checks may be mailed to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, PO Box 995, Tulsa, OK 74182-0001.

Remember that you can designate that you want your money to go to the Quatrain Disaster, Fort Gruber, or you can just donate generally.

The reason for this is that even though they need money for the disaster, they still have to meet the needs of their other clients, such as house fires and other local people that need to be taken care of.

With money, they can buy the exact things that they need rather than have things given to them that they can't use.

DONATE BLOOD. Blood is always at a premium. You can donate blood every 56 days and it takes about an hour. I know. I do that very thing every two months. Blood has a shelf life, so what is given at a certain time will have to be replenished after so many weeks. There are two locations to donate in Tulsa, on Memorial between 71st and 81st street and on 11th street and highway 169. You can call 831-1100 to make an appointment or just walk in. There is usually very little waiting.

A few small things that some asked for that could probably be contributed, but call the Red Cross to make arrangements:

Board games, cards, good books, late issue magazines and newspapers - These people will need something to do. Sports equipment, footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, Nerf balls, etc. (for the adults, the kids have lots of toys) -

Same reason as above some of the older women asked for crochet hooks and yarn,nail clippers, shower caps.

NEW men's athletic shoes, especially in larger sizes, 9 - 13, they can probably use several hundred pair (does anyone know of shoes stores with last years styles that they would donate?)

NEW shower shoes - flip flops, again, several hundred pair (most people had sores and cuts on their feet that have to be treated from wading through nasty water.

Thanks for listening to me. Rae

I would also like to recommend OBI, the Oklahoma Blood Institute. They will accept your donation of blood, plasma, or platelets. Call Janet, at 918-477-0413 for more information about how to donate with OBI. - Deb

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Julien's List

I don't even know where to start to tell you what to read from Julien's List. You could easily spend half an hour or more just reading through entries and the articles and visiting the blogs they refer to.

Barbara B's Comments About the Refugees From Hurricane Katrina

Remember when she said this?
One thing is for sure. She has a way with words.

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths ...? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" Barbara Bush

Now, she has spoken again ... to radio people ... so, she said to us all. Read about it in the Drudge Report (quoted below).

Drudge Report ^ 9/5/05 Matt Drudge

Posted on 09/05/2005 5:19:27 PM PDT by

Former first lady and mother to President Bush said Monday that evacuees from New Orleans have found a home in Houston.
"Almost everyone I’ve talked to says we're going to move to Houston," Barbara Bush told NPR.

"What I’m hearing is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this (she chuckles slightly)--this is working very well for them."

Editor & Publisher notes the former First Lady's remarks were aired this evening on National Public Radio's "Marketplace" program.

The President's Photo Op Was the Most Important Matter at Hand

I received a copy of this letter today through an email list. The note said this letter was sent by a listener to the Diane Rhem Show. There was no signature. (The allegations in this letter are things I've already heard a number of times from a number of sources, including a similar story by a friend whose brother tried to deliver 3,000 meals to survivors and was denied access.)

"Dear Diane Reams,

Supporters of President Bush are quick to accuse anyone asking questions about FEMA and Homeland Security of playing "the blame game". That tactic is simply a phony attempt to cover up incompetence or other more sinister motives that give me chills to think about.

Last Thursday I was trying to locate a good friend. In the process I began to realize that the Red Cross did not have any information, were not yet moving forward with rescue or relief effort and were pretty much chasing their tails. I told one lady that all my life (66 years) I had seen the Red Cross be prompt and first on the scene even before a storm had played itself out.

Why were they still not going into New Orleans? She said it was because FEMA would not let them in. FEMA was physically blocking the way. Someone from FEMA told them they were waiting for the President to arrive so he could go in with the convoy of aid.

Does that mean thousands of people were begging for a drink of water and some food with hundreds dying so Bush could have a photo op? The thought of this makes me sick from head to toe. Everyone knows Bush was in California politicking where some musician was presenting him with a guitar.

Then Saturday night on a radio talk show a Ham Radio operator called in to say that Ham Radio Operators were blocked from providing emergency communications by FEMA. Ham radio operators have provided emergency communications for people all over the world since the beginning of radio.

It is a tradition. They were informed by FEMA that if they proceeded with communications attempts their signals would be jammed."

The Diane Rehm Show is an interview show that airs locally on 89.5FM weekday mornings. I have not been able to find the letter (above) on her site, but here's the official link to the Diane Rheme Show. And, here's the information about the 10am topic today:

10:00 Economic Implications of Hurricane Katrina
Last week's storm on the Gulf Coast highlighted what some see as a growing gap between the haves and the have-nots in our society. A look at the some of the economic and policy implications of Hurricane Katrina.

If We Don't See the Dead, Maybe We Can Ignore How Little They Care

Why do we accept it? We have to go to news organizations from other countries to see more of the truth. Be warned, the photos are not pretty. No wonder those who chose to play golf, shop for shoes, and vacation want us not to see the aftermath of the disaster they tried to ignore.

A Reuter's article is below telling how FEMA is limiting news media access to what's going on in New Orleans.

FEMA accused of censorship
By Deborah ZabarenkoWed Sep 7, 4:27 PM ET

When U.S. officials asked the media not to take pictures of those killed by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, they were censoring a key part of the disaster story, free speech watchdogs said on Wednesday.

The move by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is in line with the Bush administration's ban on images of flag-draped U.S. military coffins returning from the Iraq war, media monitors said in separate telephone interviews.

"It's impossible for me to imagine how you report a story whose subject is death without allowing the public to see images of the subject of the story," said Larry Siems of the PEN American Center, an authors' group that defends free expression.

U.S. newspapers, television outlets and Web sites have featured pictures of shrouded corpses and makeshift graves in New Orleans.
But on Tuesday, FEMA refused to take reporters and photographers along on boats seeking victims in flooded areas, saying they would take up valuable space need in the recovery effort and asked them not to take pictures of the dead.

In an e-mail explaining the decision, a FEMA spokeswoman wrote: "The recovery of victims is being treated with dignity and the utmost respect and we have requested that no photographs of the deceased by made by the media."

Efforts to recover bodies continued on Wednesday. Out in the city's filthy waters, rescue teams tied bodies to trees or fences when they found them and noted the location for later recovery before carrying on in search of survivors.

Rebecca Daugherty of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press found this stance inexplicable.

"The notion that, when there's very little information from FEMA, that they would even spend the time to be concerned about whether the reporting effort is up to its standards of taste is simply mind-boggling," Daugherty said. "You cannot report on the disaster and give the public a realistic idea of how horrible it is if you don't see that there are bodies as well."


FEMA's policy of excluding media from recovery expeditions in New Orleans is "an invitation to chaos," according to Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a part of Columbia University's journalism school.

"This is about managing images and not public taste or human dignity," Rosenstiel said. He said FEMA's refusal to take journalists along on recovery missions meant that media workers would go on their own.

Rosenstiel also noted that U.S. media, especially U.S. television outlets, are generally reluctant to show corpses.

"By and large, American television is the most sanitized television in the world," he said. "They are less likely to show bodies, they are less likely to show graphic images of the dead than any television in the world."

There is also a question of what the American PEN Center's Siems called "international equity," noting that American news outlets cover stories around the world showing the effects of natural disasters and wars in graphic detail.

"How is the world going to look at us if we go into their part of the world and we broadcast these images and we do not allow ourselves to look at such images when they're right in our own midst?" Siems said.

Mark Tapscott, a former editor at the Washington Times newspaper who now deals with media issues at the Heritage Foundation, said the FEMA decision did not amount to censorship.

"Let's not make a common decency issue into a censorship issue," Tapscott said. "Nobody wants to wake up in the morning and see their dead uncle on the front page. That's just common decency."

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

Hard Questions by Karen Zipdrive

I'm quoting again. Karen asks some hard questions and expresses her feelings about some of what has happened, and she doesn't sugar-coat things. Don't read this if you prefer not to wonder why it took so long for rescue efforts to begin or if you don't want to hear it in an angry voice.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last Monday - without patients.WHY?

And, don't read this if you think people should not swear when they're angry. Ms. Z has a way with words. (I'm even too much of a wimp to post her comments as she wrote them on this blog. I've cut away a few times. Please click the links to catch the points where I wimped out, 'cause I left out important points.)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Louisiana Is a RED State...and other rants--

Well, Bush has proven once and for all, even to the red states, that he's nothing more than a tool of big business and big money and couldn't care less about ... (more)

True Christians, you know, the ones who equate Christ with peace and think all people are his children? Yeah, them. They should sue Bush and his band of phony Jesus freaks for defamation of character and ruining their religion's image by co-opting and using the name of Jesus as a facade for being hate-filled, racist, xenophobic, war mongering, money worshiping, Saudi loving, bought-off, dirty fucking liars.Now when someone tells me they are Christian and don't immediately add, 'but I can't stand Bush,' I just think they are ... (more)

--Having volunteered lately with Hurricane Katrina evacuees who are primarily African American, keeping track of their kids is a lot easier when their names are not Azzelle, La Fawnda, Damore, Dionysseus, Shayiqua, Mohiquah, Tonika, Antonellique, Shakamalik and those damn 20 versions of the way they spell Shawniqua.Holy Christ, at one point I was tasked with signing little kids into the recreation area, and when a 6-year-old is trying to write out his 30-letter first name and cot number in green Crayola, I get antsy as hell after the first five or 10 minutes.Finally, I just grabbed the Crayola from the three dozen Shawniquas and signed them in with, "SHQA, Cot 912."

--Louisiana is a red state, and black voters were starting to lean toward the right. Ha! Not anymore. (more)

--I shared a smoke break outside with one of the few white couples I'd met at the shelter. The man said- in his N'awlins drawl- that even though he was a union man, he had voted for Bush.Then he took a long puff off his cigarette, exhaled and said, "But I tell you what, that old Bush needs to get his ass whupped for lettin' us standing up there on our roof two days."We was on the roof of a $200,000 house that costs about 12 dollahs now, and where was he?"Then his wife said, "I never did like him and I never voted for him, and now (pointing at her husband) he knows that he was hoodwinked!"

--Several of the evacuees seemed freaked out to discover that many of the 90% white volunteers in San Antonio said they thought Bush was a crooked, lying, racist, too. They were expecting all those Neo-Con Texas Jesus freaks to be there volunteering. Ha! As if! Texas Bush Christians do not work 9 to 5 jobs; they play golf and bark orders at their minions from their homes or cell phones. Their wives attend Al-Anon meetings in between flower arrangement and cooking classes.They do not wade between acres of green canvas cots and pass out hair pomades, picks and clean jockey shorts to Negroes- that's something their husbands might send their mid-management level staff to do for one afternoon, but they'd better be wearing T-shirts bearing their company logos so the group photo looks good in their monthly newsletter.

--The parking lot for volunteers was not filled with Range Rovers, Benzes, Escalades and shiny new Ford F-350 pickups with V8 engines, but it was filled with 10-year-old Hondas and Corollas, a couple of Prius's, and several well-worn Escorts, Cavaliers, Neons and other middle to lower middle class rides.Sure, there were a few nice SUV's and minivans parked there, because nurses and doctors volunteered by the dozens. But they weren't part of Bush's base, that's for goddamn sure.

--Everyone has seen Mayor Naglin and Governor Blanco speak out with great passion and forthright candor. Fuck P.C. platitudes! They cussed and they explained in plain language where and how the feds fucked up, got caught, then lied about it.Who you gonna believe, them or the team who brought you stratospheric gas prices, faux WMD's, war with Iraq, deficits, global warming ignorance, stem cell is baby killing, the jury's still out on evolution, weakened National Guard response and the world's worst bureaucratic clusterfuck, the Department of Homeland Security?

--Hello, Media? Time to start (more) And Fox News? There IS NO good news to put a Bush-sunny spin on. The streets along the Gulf Coast are fetid, steaming, filthy streams of diseased, stinking SLIME.Hundreds of thousands of people who earned less than $8,000 a year are dead, dying, sick or just shit out of luck. Report THAT.-Hello, Democrats?The time to stop being (more)

--Some people tell me to calm down when I start getting political, even Democrats.I tell them, (more)- skip the diplomacy and pleas for passive restraint. (more)

note- Too many bleeps here, and I didn't even remove all the FCC's forbidden words. (Yes, I realize this is not a radio show.) Visit Ms.Z's blog for for a mix of humor and anger as she talks about politics in the USA.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

FEMA: Led by Bush's Good Buddy ...

Just in case you aren't aware that Bush chose his woefully inexperienced college pal Michael Brown to head FEMA, maybe you also need to know that Brown took the job after being fired for ineptitude and "alleged" improprieties while managing a horse breeding farm.

Yes, you read that right.

Brown couldn't oversee horses knocking up other horses. It was just too hard to master.

So get a load of this. (more)

.... aw, just visit Karen yourself, and read her daily rants. :)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I Must Quote Joel Again Today

Here's what Joel has to say today:

The Pound and the Fury

I started writing an article about being bipolar amid Katrina, but found that I had nothing to say. Someone dug a gritty hole in the air using a leaf blower. The computer hummed in a blanketing, electronic sort of way. And in the face of all the righteously wrathful blogging about the catastrophe following the disaster, the words I found for my feelings were too steady, like a punt being pushed through a greenish bayou in a calmer season.

When you have a mood disorder, people like to say that it is all in your head. They’re absolutely right. The chemical imbalances that cause bipolar illness happen in the brain. They say that you shouldn’t be feeling like you do. A friend of mine likes to say “My psychiatrist agrees. That’s why he has me on medications.”

Excuses for bad behavior or willful neglect come easily to those who exist within the narrow parameters of “normal” moods. It has been with mixed feelings these past nine or ten days that I have watched as the bulk of Americans who have no clue what it means to live with a mood disorder have received a big taste of what it feels to be the utter thrall of your emotions.

My fellow bipolars may be doing many things at this time. Some cooly go about their lives, realizing that watching too much of the news — especially the doubletalk and outright prevarications of this maladministration — will only flick them into an episode. So they turn off their televisions and their radios. Others wallow in bed, too weak and tired to rise. They have stopped hearing the reports. They lie in darkness. Still others have jumped into mania — another common reaction to stress. Moved by deep feelings, they have joined in blood drives and given to the Red Cross. These behaviors may be driven by what some call “a sense of purpose” and what we who know them in another way “grandiosity”. Despite the pathological basis of the actions, they do good. As a voice of experience, I merely caution that they observe their moods and take time out for themselves.

Religiosity is another common symptom of mania. I have seen a few lambast FEMA’s response in terms suiting an Old Testament prophet such as Jeremiah or my namesake Joel. Yet what has been most disturbing is that the media has granted the most attention to those who attempt to cast the natural disaster into a biblical plague where God unleashed this storm to punish gays and lesbians. While no fan of the kind of hedonism — homosexual or heterosexual — that takes place in The Big Easy from time to time, I must righteously stand against the kooks who fashion every calamity to meet their own political ends.

Such talk is sly, corrupt, and wicked. A real prophet, I feel, would be joining those calling for justice for the poor. New Orleans was neither Sodom nor Gomorrah. Churches lined the streets outside of the French Quarter. If God meant to punish the wicked, He did one sloppy job because the bulk of the victims were the poor and religious — God’s especially beloved people.

Now I am lost because the wrath pushes me to the brink of my consciousness. The maps that turn Katrina into a rainbow storm, the pictures of bodies floating in Lake Ponchartrain, the stories of the fake food distribution stations conspire to file me down into a nub. What more can I add to the wails of indignation and anger? In the face of catastrophe, the failures of the Right present us with absurd reasoning. When we say that FEMA could have done better, they tell us that nobody could have stopped this storm. As if we rejected that obvious fact.

Psychotically, it is they who reject the facts: that FEMA failed to heed the warnings of Lousiana’s governor and New Orleans’ mayor; that National Guard units who could have been helping the victims were away in Iraq; that even though journalists were regularly shuttling in and out of the city, the federal response team kept telling us that there was no way in. And there is the big message coming out of the wacko Right: that we cannot expect any government to be able to help us in time of crisis. So we have to be able to help ourselves or we must perish.

We who suffer from mood disorders for years have heard similar words: that it is entirely up to us to fix our minds using only our powers of intellect. Some of us drink or take drugs to numb the feelings at the end of a long day so we can pretend to be stable the rest of the time. Others try to live through the feelings, endlessly enriching the publishing industry by buying self-help books. And yet, some of us don’t listen to the lies. We accept that it is through cooperation that we survive. Cooperation takes many forms: our medications, support groups, hospitals. If we are poor, we endure bad patient care from county agencies and drug prices which are beyond what we can pay. Now we watch the rest of America, unmedicated, tempted to surrender to the lies because they cannot stand the pound and the fury inside their heads. And, sadly, lithium won’t help them.

MORE: I tend to see more liberals than conservatives in bipolar support groups. Yet in the media, I see plenty of examples of it in wingnut pundits and Fundamentalist preachers. My suspicion is that it pays to be bipolar and reactionary, that there are plenty of wealthy people willing to support the mentally ill when they are willing to act as apologists for the oligarchy. Liberals find themselves cast out simply because they are not politically correct. Only in politics, it seems, does codependency aid the codependent. For a short time.

MORE: I haven’t heard much news about the fate of patients in mental hospitals and psychiatric wards. Were they left to drown? Last spring I attended a conference here in Orange which talked about how FEMA planned to help the mentally ill in the event of a natural disaster. How many schizophrenics were left to talk to undines in the turbulent waters? How many maniacs were permitted to attempt to fly over the waves?

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 6th, 2005 @ 3:18 pm on the category Disasters, Mania. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Thank you, Joel.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Amazing Karen Zipdrive's Touching Story

These two entries (below), were copied directly from Karen Zipdrive's web page, and tell her personal story about meeting some New Orleans refugees in her home city San Antonio.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Seven-thousand-five Hundred Amazingly Graceful Souls

My life changed today.

Heading to Kelly USA in a caravan of four cars this morning to see how we could help the largest Hurricane Katrina evacuee center in San Antonio, we walked into a building filled with 7,500 homeless, stunned, hungry men, women and children of all ages who have literally lost everything.

I'd say 95 percent of them were African American.

San Antonio is roughly 50 percent Hispanic, 40 percent Anglo and 10 percent African American, Asian and other ethnicities.

But today, San Antonio's Kelly USA was 100 percent American, and ethnicity didn't matter one bit, not to the evacuees and not to the volunteers.

One hundred percent of our welcome guests from New Orleans were polite, expressed lavish gratitude and waited patiently in blocks long lines for meals, tetanus shots, social security advice, insurance information and medical care.

I saw no angry faces, heard no voices raised and saw no aggression of any kind.

All morning, I cuddled with little children between 2 and 6 while their exhausted mothers, fathers and other adult guardians took showers, searched for clothes or otherwise took care of adult, parental and family business.

The children were sweet, affectionate and mannerly. I bonded with maybe eight or 10 of the little ones and kept running into them from room to room, always having them rush up to me for a hug or a little attention.
Around 10 a.m. I met a young man named Rahim, a 13-year-old with the most extraordinary dignity and maturity I have ever seen in a kid that age.

We sat down and he told me his story.

I am too emotionally spent right now to describe the way this kid told me his absolutely traumatizing story and how he managed to keep his composure like the Dali Lama the whole while.

But I will as soon as I can.

To be continued...

Monday, September 05, 2005

Rahim Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The Dali Lama Ramma Jamma
(and the other kid in Cot J-26)

Okay, the kid was named Rahim, but when this dignified little 13-year-old man told me he had been planning to play junior high football this season before Katrina ruined his school, I said, "Whoa, man, you're in Spurs country here, let's talk this over."

I asked Rahim, who resembles child actor Emmanuel Lewis if he were normal sized, if he'd like to sit with me and chat.

We sat at a table in Kelly USA's huge recreation room, filled with recently vacated tables the other kids had left to line up for lunch.

I said, "When's your birthday?"

He said, "November 7th."

"No way. That's my brother Billy's birthday. That makes you a Scorpio," I said.

He raised his eyebrows, curious about what that might mean.

I said, "Lemme see, that makes you a naturally curious type, like a spy or a secret agent who loves to solve mysteries."

He smiled and said, "How'd you know that?"

I told him I had a degree in Scorpiology.

"But let's go over this football plan first, okay?" I asked.

"Okay," he said.

I said, "How tall is your daddy?"

"He's 6'4"."

"Okay then, you'll probably grow up to be about 6'6" and stay lean. That means a running back or some fast position in football, but you know The Man only lets the white boys play quarterback, right?"

He laughed and said, "Mmm-hmm."

"Yeah," I said, "In football, those giant tackles and guards go after you lean, fast types. You want three or four giant fat boys jumping on you every day in practice?"

He pondered it a moment, then looked at me and said, "Go on..."

"Now, you are a good lookin' boy, right?

He smiled and looked down, bashfully.

"How are the chicks gonna see your beautyliciousness if you're all trussed into padded spandex and all helmeted with your face covered?
"No sir, when you're on the b-ball court, those hotties will see that face and those long legs and biceps and triceps and they'll say... what?"

"I don't know, what?" he said.

"They'll say, 'Mmm, mmm, mmm, look at that Rahim, he hot.

"Not to mention, NFL players get good pay- but NBA players get Superstar pay. Now with your looks and a Superstar's money...can you say, 'Supermodel, riding to your mansion in your Benz with you?' "

He smiled and said, "You have a point there, Miss."

So I said, "Okay, then it's settled. You'll play junior high and high school b-ball, then you get a full basketball scholarship to pay for your college.
"In fact, you've even got a perfect NBA name, Rahim."

He laughed and said, "You can call me Rahim Kareem Abdul Jabbar, then."

"Okay, Rahim Kareem Abdul Jabbar, now that we have that settled, what will you study in college just in case the NBA doesn't work out?"

He said, "Got any ideas?"

I said, "Lemme see here, you love mysteries, you love to investigate things, how about becoming a detective, or even a federal agent?

"You see, son, a black man in this country drives down the road, minding his business and a cop can pull him over and shake him down just for the heck of it. Right?"

"Oh, yeah," he said.

So I said, "But when Detective Rahim Kareem Abdul Jabbar rolls down the window on his Benz, he looks at the cop and says, 'Sure, you can see my license, officer, I got it right here, under my GOLD SHIELD."

Then I mimed the cop sliding back away from his car, saying, "Oh, sorry Detective, my mistake, sir."

He laughed like hell at the thought of that scene.

After we had bantered like that for a few minutes, I asked, "Would you like to tell me how you came to be here in San Antonio?"

His posture got straighter, his smile faded and he said, "Yes, nobody has asked me that yet."

It seems Rahim was in his grandfather's house that awful day with his grandparents, his mother and his younger brother, a 9-year-old in recent remission from leukemia.

He and his brother had been playing a video game on their TV when the power went off.

His grandfather suggested they play cards, at the table by the window.
Rahim had repositioned his chair, and when he put his feet back down, he felt water slosh up through the carpeting.

He told his grandfather, who looked out the window and saw water rushing down what had been their street.

Quickly, Rahim hoisted himself into the attic, where he had the presence of mind to dislodge the vent fan and squeeze himself up through the opening to get to the roof.

He looked up and down the river that had been his street and saw a boat flowing toward the house.

He cried out for help.

The boat driver said he'd come back around, and to gather up the rest of the family, quick.

Rahim jumped back into the attic and called for his family to get up there. As they climbed the ladder, Rahim took the time to bust out the dormer window in the attic and clear all the sharp glass away before the family reached the attic.

One by one, Rahim and his family jumped off the roof into the river below, then swam to the rescue boat and climbed aboard.

The boat taxied them to the nearest street still above water and dropped them all off.

From there, they walked 12 miles to the Superdome, which by then was already filled to capacity.

So, for two days, Rahim and his family lived on the sidewalk outside the Superdome, without toilet facilities, minimal food and water, and watching people die in the sweltering mugginess of the post hurricane weather. His brother was weak. They worried he might be too weak from chemo and radiation to survive the elements.

While his grandfather was walking around the crowded, squalid sidewalks of the Superdome looking for food, a bus came to take a crowd including Rahim, his grandmother, mother and brother to San Antonio's Kelly USA. It was now or never and they had to leave- without his grandfather.

His eyes misted at that point, but he inhaled deeply and continued his story.

He didn't mention that all his family had on that San Antonio-bound bus were the clothes on their backs. I had to ask.

After hearing that, I remembered the three boxes of clothes and shoes I had gathered the day before to take to the tented collection area my goofy friends had mentioned. Turned out the collection tents were not a collection site, it was a fuckin' Labor Day barbecue cookoff.

Once Rahim had told me his story, I took him out to the vending machine and bought him a Coke. On the floor near the machine were his mother, grandmother and brother, huddled together in stunned silence.

I introduced myself to them, saying what a fine boy Rahim was.
Then I asked if one of them could accompany Rahim and me out to my car to select some new clothes for their family to wear.

Kelly USA had a clothing area but it was disorganized, stuffy, crowded and filled with clothes a hobo would scoff at. I mean, who the hell would donate a tuxedo jacket to hurricane victims in the 100º summer weather of South Texas?

Anyway, at my car, I gave them all the best stuff: the J Crew T-shirts, the Liz Claiborne casual wear, the outgrown Discovery channel's special safari shorts I paid a fortune for- back when I had a personal trainer, a full client roster and could afford such frivolities.

Rahim was so amped up over the Discovery channel, steel gray, vented pocket, hidden zippered compartment, totally cool shorts made of high tech ripstop nylon and other fancy shit, he actually slipped them on between the open front and back doors of my car.

The color matched the banded collar and cuffs of his bright orange T-shirt perfectly.

There's nothing like a hot new outfit to boost the morale of a handsome boy.

My heart was pounding from the joy his broad smile gave me. His grandmother was praising God as she carried away an armload of other stuff.

The kid had just crawled out of Hell, yet this simple exchange made both of us feel like we had formed a lasting bond.

I would have adopted him on the spot had he not had a strong mother and loving grandparents.

As the day wore on, a giant Catholic church service was about to start. I took that as a sign that it was time for me to go. As the Archbishop and his nun groupies were arriving, I was leaving.

Unless they were carrying in a trunk filled with cash, I wasn't interested in hearing any sermons.

On the way out, I paused in the hot sun to watch a group of high school age boys playing a pickup game of hoops. One kid had a long range shot sweeter than Robert Horry's.

I said, "You boys are in Spurs country now- better kick your game up a notch! I wanna see some above the rim play- this ain't the N'awlins Hornets up in here."

So the kid with the sweet 3-point shot got the ball, plowed through three aggressive defenders in the paint and launched a perfect slam dunk...wayyyy above the rim.

I told him he'd just won one of my vintage Spurs championship T-shirts. I got his cot number and wrote myself a reminder to bring it to him when I could.

I could tell many more stories of people I met yesterday, but I haven't got time.

I am heading back out there today to pitch in again.

I'm taking that Spurs T-shirt, neatly folded and wrapped in tissue. The kid in cot J-26 earned it.

To be continued...

These two entries (above), were copied directly from Karen Zipdrive's web page, and tell her personal story about meeting some New Orleans refugees in her home city San Antonio.

Musical Tributes to New Orleans ... and "The Death of the Common Good"

Yesterday and today, I turned on the radio and heard musical tributes to New Orleans. One of the songs I heard yesterday was "Louisiana 1927" by Randy Newman.

"Louisiana 1927" was quoted in an article I received in email a couple of days ago (below, by Chris Floyd). The comment at the end (by Darla Sparks in Yukon, Oklahoma) was with the article. There are links to both authors if you'd like to contact them.


September 1, 2005

The Perfect Storm - New Orleans and the Death of the Common Good


"The river rose all day, The river rose all night.

Some people got lost in the flood, Some people got away all right.

The river have busted through clear down to Plaquemine:

Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline.

Louisiana, Louisiana,They're trying to wash us away, They're trying to wash us away."

-- Randy Newman, Louisiana 1927

The destruction of New Orleans represents a confluence of many of the most pernicious trends in American politics and culture: poverty, racism, militarism, elitist greed, environmental abuse, public corruption and the decay of democracy at every level.

Much of this is embodied in the odd phrasing that even the most circumspect mainstream media sources have been using to describe the hardest-hit victims of the storm and its devastating aftermath: "those who chose to stay behind." Instantly, the situation has been framed with language to flatter the prejudices of the comfortable and deny the reality of the most vulnerable.

It is obvious that the vast majority of those who failed to evacuate are poor: they had nowhere else to go, no way to get there, no means to sustain themselves and their families on strange ground.

While there were certainly people who stayed behind by choice, most stayed behind because they had no choice. They were trapped by their poverty ­ and many have paid the price with their lives.Yet across the media spectrum, the faint hint of disapproval drips from the affluent observers, the clear implication that the victims were just too lazy and shiftless to get out of harm's way.

There is simply no understanding ­ not even an attempt at understanding ­ the destitution, the isolation, the immobility of the poor and the sick and the broken among us.This is from the "respectable" media; the great right-wing echo chamber was even less restrained, of course, leaping straight into giddy convulsions of racism at the first reports of looting in the devastated city.

In the pinched-gonad squeals of Rush Limbaugh and his fellow hatemongers, the hard-right media immediately conjured up images of wild-eyed darkies rampaging through the streets in an orgy of violence and thievery.

Not that the mainstreamers ignored the racist angle. There was the already infamous juxtaposition of captions for wire service photos, where depictions of essentially the same scene ­ desperate people wading through flood waters, clutching plastic bags full of groceries ­ were given markedly different spins.

In one picture, a white couple are described as struggling along after finding bread and soda at a grocery store. But beneath an almost identical photo of a young black man with a bag of groceries, we are told that a "looter" wades through the streets after robbing a grocery store. In the photo I saw, this evil miscreant also had a ­ gasp! ­ pack of diapers under his arm.

Almost all of the early "looting" was like this: desperate people ­ of all colors ­ stranded by the floodwaters broke into abandoned stores and carried off food, clean water, medicine, clothes. Perhaps they should have left a check on the counter, but then again ­ what exactly was going to happen to all those perishables and consumer goods, sitting around in fetid, diseased water for weeks on end? (The mayor now says it could be up to 16 weeks before people can return to their homes and businesses.) Obviously, most if not all of it would have been thrown away or written off in any case.

Later, of course, there was more organized looting by criminal gangs, the type of lawless element ­ of every hue, in every society ­ whose chief victims are, of course, the poor and vulnerable. These criminal operations were quickly conflated with the earlier pilferage to paint a single seamless picture of the American media's favorite horror story: Black Folk Gone Wild.But here again another question was left unasked: Where were the resources ­ the money, manpower, materiel, transport ­ that could have removed all those forced to stay behind, and given them someplace safe and sustaining to take shelter?

Where, indeed, were the resources that could have bolstered the city's defenses and shored up its levees? Where were the National Guard troops that could have secured the streets and directed survivors to food and aid? Where were the public resources ­ the physical manifestation of the citizenry's commitment to the common good ­ that could have greatly mitigated the brutal effects of this natural disaster?

"President Coolidge came down here in a railroad train,

With a little fat man with a notebook in his hand.

The president say, "Little fat man, isn't it a shame

What the river has done to this poor cracker's land?"

Well, we all know what happened to those vital resources. They had been cut back, stripped down, gutted, pilfered ­ looted ­ to pay for a war of aggression, to pay for a tax cut for the wealthiest, safest, most protected Americans, to gorge the coffers of a small number of private and corporate fortunes, while letting the public sector ­ the common good ­ wither and die on the vine.

These were all specific actions of the Bush Administration ­ including the devastating budget cuts on projects specifically designed to bolster New Orleans' defenses against a catastrophic hurricane. Bush even cut money for strengthening the very levees that broke and delivered the deathblow to the city. All this, in the face of specific warnings of what would happen if these measures were neglected: the city would go down "under 20 feet of water," one expert predicted just a few weeks ago.

But Bush said there was no money for this kind of folderol anymore. The federal budget had been busted by his tax cuts and his war. And this was a deliberate policy: as Bush's mentor Grover Norquist famously put it, the whole Bushist ethos was to starve the federal government of funds, shrinking it down so "we can drown it in the bathtub."

As it turned out, the bathtub wasn't quite big enough -- so they drowned it in the streets of New Orleans instead.But as culpable, criminal and loathsome as the Bush Administration is, it is only the apotheosis of an overarching trend in American society that has been gathering force for decades: the destruction of the idea of a common good, a public sector whose benefits and responsibilities are shared by all, and directed by the consent of the governed.

For more than 30 years, the corporate Right has waged a relentless and highly focused campaign against the common good, seeking to atomize individuals into isolated "consumer units" whose political energies ­ kept deliberately underinformed by the ubiquitous corporate media ­ can be diverted into emotionalized "hot button" issues (gay marriage, school prayer, intelligent design, flag burning, welfare queens, drugs, porn, abortion, teen sex, commie subversion, terrorist threats, etc., etc.) that never threaten Big Money's bottom line.

Again deliberately, with smear, spin and sham, they have sought ­ and succeeded ­ in poisoning the well of the democratic process, turning it into a tabloid melee where only "character counts" while the rapacious policies of Big Money's bought-and-sold candidates are completely ignored.

As Big Money solidified its ascendancy over government, pouring billions ­ over and under the table ­ into campaign coffers, politicians could ignore larger and larger swathes of the people. If you can't hook yourself up to a well-funded, coffer-filling interest group, if you can't hire a big-time Beltway player to lobby your cause and get you "a seat at the table," then your voice goes unheard, your concerns are shunted aside. (Apart from a few cynical gestures around election-time, of course.)

The poor, the sick, the weak, the vulnerable have become invisible ­ in the media, in the corporate boardroom, "at the table" of the power players in national, state and local governments. The increasingly marginalized and unstable middle class is also fading from the consciousness of the rulers, whose servicing of the elite goes more brazen and frantic all the time.

When unbridled commercial development of delicately balanced environments like the Mississippi Delta is bruited "at the table," whose voice is heard? Not the poor, who, as we have seen this week, will overwhelmingly bear the brunt of the overstressed environment. And not the middle class, who might opt for the security of safer, saner development policies to protect their hard-won homes and businesses. No, the only voice that matters is that of the developers themselves, and the elite investors who stand behind them.

"Louisiana, Louisiana,They're trying to wash us away"

The destruction of New Orleans was a work of nature ­ but a nature that has been worked upon by human hands and human policies. As global climate change continues its deadly symbiosis with unbridled commercial development for elite profit, we will see more such destruction, far more, on an even more devastating scale.

As the harsh, aggressive militarism and brutal corporate ethos that Bush has injected into the mainstream of American society continues to spread its poison, we will see fewer and fewer resources available to nurture the common good.

As the political process becomes more and more corrupt, ever more a creation of elite puppetmasters and their craven bagmen, we will see the poor and the weak and even the middle class driven further and further into the low ground of society, where every passing storm ­ economic, political, natural ­ will threaten their homes, their livelihoods, their very existence.

"Louisiana, Louisiana,They're trying to wash us away

They're trying to wash us awayThey're trying to wash us awayThey're trying to wash us away"

Chris Floyd is a columnist for The Moscow Times and regular contributor to CounterPunch. A new, upgraded version of his blog, "Empire Burlesque," can be found at


Darla's comments were attached to Chris Floyd's post (printed here with her permission) -

Those of you whose lives are comfortable, secure and enjoyable must understand as the last good German did in Europe during the 40s....this cancerous growth within our country and our government will soon overtake you, too.

When observing the human suffering of this past week and feeling secure and safe in your current world, you surely can grasp the idea that if your peers do not assume some responsibility for the lessers of our society and assume much responsibility for the corrupted stink of our country's governing elitists, you will eventually join those less fortunate.

Your comforts and security created by your labors and factors of birth that have produced savings, upper bracket taxable incomes,assets and luxuries will be eroded by this very small, obscenely wealthy, utterly ruthless class of rulers. Eventually you will also be washed away.

What will you do then if you don't assume some responsibilities, duties and moral obligations to take action now?

Darla Sparks
Yukon, Oklahoma

Whatever you think of Michael Moore ... he said what a lot of people have been thinking

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Vacation is Over...

an open letter

from Michael Moore to George W. Bush
Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush:

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans.

That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!

I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?

And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!

On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.

There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.

No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.


Michael Moore

P.S. That annoying mother, Cindy Sheehan, is no longer at your ranch. She and dozens of other relatives of the Iraqi War dead are now driving across the country, stopping in many cities along the way. Maybe you can catch up with them before they get to DC on September 21st.

Saturday, September 03, 2005



If you've come here because you typed in , you've come to the right place. :)

This is my 'bunny blog'. This is the web log I created in order to talk about Country Bunny Bath and Body products. I do not work for the company. I am an Independent Representative. I'm number 7733 (If you call 1-877-66-BUNNY to order something, be sure to give them my number - Rep 7733.)

Most of my entries have been about my interest in the medical field and my experiences with paramedic school and the beginning of nursing school. Some of the entries are about Country Bunny Bath and Body products.

What about Country Bunny Bath and Body products? They're great! Once you use them, you won't want to use any other bath and body products. Some ingredients you will find in some of the CBBB products are: beeswax, aloe, shea butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, Vitamin E, and cocoa butter. (Some of the ingredients are in some products, and some are in others.) Country Bunny Bath and Body product ingredients do not contain petroleum products. The woman who developed the products created them to put on her children, so she has been careful to use high quality ingredients and create products that feel good and smell good.

If you want to read more about the Country Bunny products, please check out my letter to the Herland Sisters. If you'd like to read more of my adventures and feelings about medical things, please feel free to look through my archives (in sidebar to the right). The entries go back to mid-April 2005. If you'd like to explore my online store, you can click one of the 'bunny' icons in the sidebar, or just click here. I'd love for you to leave comments if you like a post. And, if you'd like to comment privately, Send Me A Note.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Fingers over Ivory

I've copied Joel's entire entry for August 31st, 2005

Fingers over Ivory

Filed under: Disasters on Wednesday, August 31st, 2005 by Joel

I’m here, fingers hovering over the plastic keyboard like darker fingers hovered over ivory in jazz clubs in the Big Easy. The world gasps at the loss of New Orleans — America’s rustic Venice — which as everyone knows stands flooded with sharks swimming through the streets where automobiles coursed. New Orleans, a Sodom and a Jerusalem just like San Francisco, where bars stand beside churches, where the depraved rub elbows with the holy, where one cannot tell by a face or gender orientation, which is which.

Katrina saved her brawn for the towns of Southern Mississippi. I was in a Garden Grove coffee shop yesterday. The old fashioned kind where you had a nice, long and slick sit down bar where you could watch the cook working at the grill through a wide slit in the wall. I ordered pancakes and polish sausage from a thin waitress who wore her dark hair in a pony tail. She was about my age. Worry lines ran across and down the sides of her face.

Waitresses usually listen to customers’ woes. She told me about her sister who lived in Gulfport, Mississippi. Katrina silenced the whole of the Mississippi Delta and the coast to the east of Nawlins. For two weeks there would be no power, no telephone communications. And this woman did not know if her sister was alive or dead.

We discussed topography. Did her sister live on a floodplain or on a hill? The waitress did not know: they’d just bought a new house and she hadn’t been there. That southern Mississippi was seldom more than a few feet above sea level was a fact that I kept to myself. I told her to contact the local Red Cross. Ask them if they could take her sister’s name and address, check the evacuation centers. Then I paid my tab, left an extra dollar, and went off to help move the belongings of a hospitalized friend.

My fingers tremble over the keys as I think of that woman’s sister and all the people floating in the waters of Lake Pontchartrain who I will never meet . I think of a time when news of a disaster such as this would not reach me for months here in California and when I would not hear of the tsunami which hit South Asia a few months ago. The residents of southern Mississippi and Louisiana have returned to that world for a few weeks. Back to a time when the sound of fingers hitting ivory could only be heard in the room where the piano was being played.

Do Not Call List ... for your CELL PHONE number

This entry is lifted from Karen Zipdrive. It's for real. I called the number today and put my cell phone number on the Do Not Call list for telemarketers. Telemarketers beware! :)


Cell Phones Numbers and telemarketers:Don't Let Telemarketers Eat Your Minutes (Special thanks to Anna)

Thirty days from today, cell phone numbers will be released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive unsolicited sales calls.

YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS. These telemarketers will eat up your free minutes.

To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone:1-888-382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list.

It will only take a minute of your time and blocks your number from annoying telemarketers for five years.

PASS THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS!You can also register on line at: